Gear I used during the Keys 100
I wore a white Nike Pro Combat skull cap during the daytime, which allowed ventilation while still reflecting the sun. I would soak it in the ice water cooler at each stop. On Day 2 when the sun was really beating down and there was no shade, I switched to a white Nike running cap, which helped keep my face shaded. I also soaked this in ice water at each stop. During the night, I wore a black Nike Pro Combat skull cap with a head lamp strapped to my head over it. this kept the head lamp straps from pulling my hair or any sort of discomfort from the straps on my head. I used SPF 100 Chapstick on my lips during the day. I had read horror stories about people getting their lips burnt to a crisp during this race. Nothing bad happened to mine at all, so definitely use some.
I wore a white Nike Miler singlet during the daytime. I was tempted to try and wear a long sleeve white top to keep the suns rays off me, but decided that was just to foreign for me to wear during an ultra in the heat without testing it out first, so I opted to use a light top and just constantly apply sunscreen. The sunscreen I used was Coppertone Sport SPF 100 Spray. The spray made it way easier to apply by my wife as I stood drinking water and made way less of a mess. We ended up using almost the entire bottle of it. Made it through with absolutely no sunburns to speak of. After several incidents with the dreaded nipple cuts on my last few ultras, I finally wised up and put a Band-Aid over each nipple. They stayed on the entire race and nothing bad happened, so this brand is a good one for runners. The shorts I wore were both by Nike, but the first pair had the tights built into them and the second pair just had the standard mesh lining. I wish I had worn the first type when I switched shorts at Mile 50, because it did seem to chafe slightly where the lining was in the latter stages of the race.
Legs & Feet
I wore Progressive+ Calf Sleeves made by CEP and they worked great. Since I have started using these during ultras, I have found they really keep soreness from creeping into my legs during the latter stages of races. My socks were by Injinji and they worked marvelously. I switched pairs every 20 miles and made it through with zero blisters and all my toenails perfectly fine. By the next day after the race my feet weren’t even swollen. I used the pair of calf compression sleeves the entire race and I never felt the joint pain that I used to get at the end of ultras, the feeling of every step is a painful one. I used two pairs of shoes, switching at mile 50. They were an old pair of Nike Lunar Glide 4s and then a pair of Nike Lunar Glide 5s. I have ran every ultra I have done in a pair of this model of Nikes. Every time I switched socks, I applied Vaseline all over my feet. This helped prevent any blisters. I also applied it to my groin area and under my arms where the jersey met skin and made it out ok.
I used the aforementioned headlamp, and a safety vest by Nathan that had flashing lights down the front straps. I wore a Spi-Belt with a bike light attached to the back that was a flashing red light. This fulfilled all of the race safety requirements for running at night. If you have a pacer, notice that the pacer too has to wear these items or you will be penalized 15 minutes.
Both of my handheld water bottles were by Nathan. One was a double walled bottle so the water and ice stayed cooler longer. I only ran with one at a time except for the 7 Mile bridge.
I used a Nike+ GPS watch to track my progress. Whenever it died I just gave it to my wife to charge with a portable USB charging device. It was helpful to track the time and know where I was at in regards to the cutoff. There is a mile marker every mile of the race so knowing how far I had run wasn’t an issue. I ran with an iPod Shuffle the entire race. A combination of thrash & death metal kept me fired up and ready to roll, with some industrial metal thrown in for a good beat to just get in stride to. I had a lot of softer listening songs too, to be able to settle in and enjoy the moments when things were really scenic. You’d be amazed how your soundtrack will seem to morph and go along with your journey perfectly. I also sang along to many songs, I had never done that during a run before and it helped switch things up and keep me going. It did get me some strange looks from other people though.
We used my wife’s 2013 Volkswagen Jetta for the race. Not the most spacious vehicle to have to accommodate luggage as well as all of the race gear and coolers, but it worked out fine. We put one cooler in the trunk and the other in the back seat. Everything was organized into its own bag or tupperware container, and labeled. There was never any confusion or chaos looking for things. Go over where everything is with your crew prior to the race and stay organized. You don’t want to have any additional stress put on you and your crew during the race.